Due to recent flooding resulting in several road closures, Melvin Johnson Drive at Livingston Academy is currently being used as a detour. When school resumes in Overton County, Livingston Academy will temporarily use an alternate traffic pattern, allowing all traffic and buses to access Melvin Johnson Drive from both Bradford Hicks Drive and HWY 52. Please check Livingston Academy’s website for the new traffic pattern and updated information.
Tennessee Tech Women's Basketball Balanced effort, Third-Quarter Surge Lead Tech Women over Eastern Kentucky
By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – When you can put together a multi-faceted effort like the Tennessee Tech women did on Thursday night against Eastern Kentucky, it definitely makes a team tough to beat.
The visiting Colonels found out the hard way, falling to 0-15 in the Ohio Valley Conference as the Golden Eagles surged to a 77-57 victory. With the win, Tech is in sole possession of second place in the conference standings with three games remaining in the regular season.
“It was very, very balanced,” Tech head coach Kim Rosamond said. “That’s a credit to our players refocusing. Everybody, especially in the second half on both ends of the floor, did their job. We have to do that Saturday night (against Morehead State).”
Tech (19-7, 11-4 OVC) was paced with tremendous scoring efforts from Kentoria Alexander (16 points on 5-of-7 shooting) and Akia Harris (15 points, including 3-for-4 beyond the arc). The Golden Eagles also had double-digit scoring efforts from Lacy Cantrell (11) and Kesha Brady (10).
“I think we really needed that coming off of (Saturday’s loss to Belmont),” Rosamond said. “We haven’t been shooting the ball extremely well. Making shots is contagious, just like missing shots is contagious. I thought when Akia came out and hit two early 3s, it just gave us a lot of energy and a lot of confidence.”
But it wasn’t just scoring. Tech also employed a balanced effort on the boards, led by Anacia Wilkinson’s seven caroms and Cantrell’s six. There was also great ball movement as Harris collected six dimes and Abby Buckner five.
“As a point guard, the ball is always in my hands,” Harris said. “I try to make the best decision and hit whoever’s open.”
To call it a total team effort would be an apt expression, because through the course of the four quarters, nearly every member of the Golden Eagle lineup found a way to contribute to the victory.
“That was a big emphasis for tonight,” Rosamond said. “We did some different things this week. Once you get into February, it’s not about quantity of practice, but quality. We were putting up a lot of shots on Monday. We had a very intense practice – we went hard and got after it. We did the same thing on Tuesday and backed off of them a little on Wednesday.
“Our word for the week has been accountability. Everybody had to be accountable for themselves and had to do their job. We have been inconsistent with that. One game, you have someone doing their job. The next game, they’re not doing it at the level they did the game before. We got back to focusing on doing our job so we could play good team basketball and the team to be successful. We just needed to reboot a little bit.”
However, it was a close one until the third quarter. Even though Tech paced the early flow of the game, knocking down its first three shots – all 3-pointers – to take a 9-0 lead, the Colonels surged back, tying the game at 15 with 4:11 in the opening quarter.
But that was the only time EKU knotted the score. Tech took a 22-19 lead at the end of the first, then extended its lead by one point to take a 38-34 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
Still the 3-point shooting early on still put the Golden Eagles at a solid pace and gave them some much needed momentum.
“We take what the defense gives us,” Harris said. “They were leaving us on the perimeter, so we just had to focus and knock it down.”
Then a 27-9 effort in the third quarter sealed the visiting Colonels’ fate. Tech was on fire in the quarter, shooting 10-for-16 from the floor, a scorching 62.5-percent clip, then was 5-for-7 (71.4 percent) at the charity stripe.
“I think if we could bottle that third quarter – that effort, that energy, the way we pushed in transition as our pace – it really wore on them,” Rosamond said. “I’m proud of how we played in the second half. I thought we played well offensively in the first half, but I didn’t like how we defended. We made some adjustments and asked the kids to do some things that we hadn’t worked on in a while. They went out there and did their job.”
In comparison, EKU shot 4-for-14 from the floor (28.6 percent), a stark contrast to the 57.1 and 55.6 percent rates shot in the first two periods.
“They really got into a rhythm in the first half,” Rosamond said. “While I thought we had some breakdowns, I thought a lot of those was they hit shots in our face. They just got really comfortable and we needed to change it up and get them out of that rhythm.”
For the game, Tech hit 29 of its 57 shots, a solid 50.9-percent effort. The 5-for-7 from behind the 3-point line in the third quarter was the best stretch for the Golden Eagles, who finished 11-for-27 for the game from long range.
The Golden Eagles return to action on Saturday as they host Morehead State (19-9, 10-5 OVC) in a 5:30 p.m. tipoff. The game will be Senior Night as the team recognizes its seniors.
“Morehead State is one of the most, if not THE most talented team in the league as far as individual players,” Rosamond said. “They’re extremely athletic and long at every position. That’s given us problems this year. The Morehead game there was a lot like the Arkansas game. We haven’t responded well.
“I’m excited because it’s a great opportunity. It’s a great challenge, but it’s another opportunity for us to get it right this time. In the two matchups against teams like that, we haven’t played well. We won’t go hard tomorrow, but we’ll get back in here and we’ll get focused on Morehead. I’m excited to see how we come out here and respond. It’s a big night for our seniors and we’ll play hard for them, but we’ve also got a lot to play for in these last three games.”
By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Trailing upset-minded Murray State with three events remaining, the Tennessee Tech track and field team needed a crucial lift in crunch time to keep its hopes of a second straight Ohio Valley Conference indoor championship alive.
With the pressure on, the Golden Eagles soared the highest, posting back-to-back-to-back first place results in the 3,000 meters, the triple jump and the 4x400-meter relay to clinch the second title in program history.
"We came here with the expectation that we were one of the dominant teams, and we wanted to perform like the defending champions," Tech head coach Wayne Angel said. "No one panicked when we were behind late. We remained focused on the task at hand, and bounced back with excellent showings from some of our team leaders."
Purity Sanga, who recorded one of the greatest performances in OVC Indoor Championship history and was deservedly named the Female Athlete of the Championships, kicked off Tech's last-minute march to victory.
Running in her fourth distance event in two days, Sanga completed the 3,000 meters in 9-minutes, 51.29-seconds to place first out of 25 competitors. It was Sanga's third individual title of the Championships, to go with a fourth title as part of the distance medley relay Wednesday night.
The Kapsabet, Kenya native became the first OVC distance runner to win the mile run, the 3,000 meters and the 5,000 meters since Morehead State's Amy Beatty in 1999.
She is also the third Wayne Angel pupil to win both Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships, joining Gilbert Boit and Micayla Rennick.
Raven Smith accounted for the next clutch performance, posting a dominant win in the triple jump. Smith obliterated her own school record with a 12.55-meter leap (41 feet, 2 1/4 inches), which beat her old mark by exactly a half-meter (12.05m, 39-6 1/2) and bested the rest of the field – including top-seeded Brittney Gibbs of SIUE – by an entire foot.
Smith's two-day performance was sensational, as she scored a total of 18 points for TTU with her triple jump title and runner-up finish in the long jump. Both jumps set new standards in the Tech record book.
To clinch the championship, Tech won the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3-minutes, 48.90 seconds.
After three legs of the race, it did not appear that TTU would triumph.
And then, D'Airrien Jackson took the baton as the anchor.
Jackson, who won the 400-meter dash earlier in the day with a time of 54.63 seconds, made up significant ground in heroic fashion on the race's final leg, before pulling into first place with less than 50 meters to go to claim the top finish.
The Tech relay team, made up of Khemani Roberts, Ceirra Tate, Lisa Wickham and Jackson, entered the race as the No. 2 seed, and finished with the league's new top time this year.
While the final three events highlighted a special pair of days in Birmingham, they were far from the only reason the purple and gold reigned supreme at the top of the league yet again. Tech entered the day in great shape after a successful first day and continued to build on that momentum with a strong start to Thursday.
"We set the tempo early with some outstanding performances that put some teams on their heels," Angel said. "We had a great first day and wanted to take advantage of our momentum and apply the pressure. It worked out in our favor, Tennessee Tech defended its title with class."
Thursday's slate of events began with the pentathlon, with two Golden Eagles in competition. Roberts placed second in the 60-meter hurdles, setting herself up nicely for the rest of the event with a time of 9.11 seconds. She ran off three straight first-place finishes in the high jump (1.76 meters), shot put (11.69 meters) and long jump (5.78 meters) to take a commanding lead.
She clinched the gold medal in the pentathlon with a sixth-place showing in the 800-meters, crossing the finish line with a time of 2:28.24 to finish with a total of 3,954 points. With her performance, she set the program record for points in a pentathlon.
Also competing in the event was senior Eshe Robinson, who scored 2,847 points after finishing the 60-meter hurdles in 9.49 seconds, turning in a distance of 1.58 meters in the high jump, tossing 9.25 meters in the shot put, leaping 4.93 meters in the long jump and crossing the finish line in the 800-meters in 3-minutes, 6.71 seconds.
Sanga turned in her first-place showing in the mile early in the day, posting a time of 4-minutes, 57.69 seconds to pace the field. Also participating in the event, Janet Kwambai was the 10th runner to cross the finish line among the 27 racers, turning in a time of 5-minutes, 13.68 seconds.
Both Wickham and Tate earned points for the Golden Eagles in the 60-meters prior to their joint heroics in the 4x400. Wickham sprinted to a time of 7.49 seconds, placing second in the finals. Tate was sixth after a finish in 7.66 seconds.
Wickham also earned a fifth-place finish in the 200-meters, dashing to the finish in 24.81 seconds. Jackson and Roberts each competed in the 200-meter final as well, capturing times of 25.11 seconds and 26.66 seconds, respectively.
Joining Sanga in the 3,000-meter hunt were freshmen Sharon Chepkemboi and Janet Kwambai. Chepkemboi captured the top time in her heat, ranking 11thoverall with a time of 10-minutes, 20.70 seconds. Kwambai was close behind in the final standings, closing her day with a 10-minute, 28.24 second performance.
Na'Scottisha Drummond kept Smith company in the triple jump pits, closing out the day with a distance of 11.28 meters. In the shot put, Keyanna Word completed her turn in the OVC Championships with a distance of 9.48 meters.
Thanks to nine events titles between Wednesday and Thursday, the Golden Eagles earned a grand total of 119 points. The nine titles represented one more than last season's championship squad, which claimed eight. Among those gold medal events were the 5,000-meters, distance medley relay, high jump, heptathlon, mile run, 400-meters, triple jump, 3,000-meters and 4x400-meter relay.
Tech edged out Murray State for the title by 11.5 points and was nearly 30 points better than third-place Tennessee State.
Coming as no surprise, and in addition to Sanga claiming OVC Athlete of the Championship, Wayne Angel was named OVC Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career.
"I'm so proud of these ladies," Angel expressed. "They made history again."
Photo by Michael Wade
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech men just needed one more play, but as a last-second desperation shot fell off the mark, so did the Golden Eagles’ rally bid on Thursday night as Tech dropped a 67-66 heartbreaker at the Hooper Eblen Center.
Tech (7-21, 3-12 Ohio Valley Conference) put together an amazing effort to get back into position, erasing a 14-point deficit to trail by just one point with 1:07 remaining in the contest. However, the score never changed in those final 67 ticks.
“We did everything to win the game except make one more play,” said Tech head coach Steve Payne. “I hate it. I hate it for them. We didn’t finish the play. We got tips at it, second shots at it. It just didn’t get in the hole. I don’t think, as a coach, I could ask any more basketball tonight than what they gave us out there. That hurts, but through sheer will and toughness, they gave themselves a chance to win that game.”
With time ticking down with under 15 seconds to go, Jr. Clay and Courtney Alexander couldn’t get layups to fall and the ball went back to the Colonels with two seconds left, forcing a desperate foul.
“Nothing went wrong,” Payne said. “We just missed the shot. We got the offensive rebound and we just panicked a bit with six seconds left. As a coach, you can’t call a timeout on the sideline anymore, so you just have to let the guys play. We do a drill called circle transitions where there are basically nine-second games to practice that. That’s what those situations are for. There’s no timeouts, it’s a rebound and get the ball down the floor. It teaches you how to finish off games, ahead or behind.
“But nothing really went wrong. We didn’t have a normal 5 in. We wanted to get Jr. off the screen and rescreen to the basket. Courtney was just a little unsure and just wasn’t as good of a screener as Garrett or Mike or Maleek would have been. He wasn’t comfortable in the situation. We wanted to get Jr. downhill and, if we could pass it, pass it and take a shot. He got it to the rim and I feel like he got a pretty good shot, but you have to finish. CA got the rebound and I thought he got a good look at it and it got knocked down and chased around. We panicked and tried to make a pass to an open guy and didn’t make good enough of a pass.”
Payne continued, “You want to attack the basket, especially on a night like this where guys aren’t making shots. You want to attack the basket and we did. You want to get second-chance points and opportunities – we did. We had them where we wanted. We just had to make one more play. I can’t fault any one guy for that. CA gave tremendous fight to get the rebound, Jr. made a tremendous effort to get to the rim. Jared, Hunter and Corey chased down the ball and it just didn’t work out for us. If you told me we were going to get three shots at it, I’d be feeling pretty good about it. We just needed to make one more shot.”
EKU’s Kelvin Robinson missed both ends of the resulting free throws and Alexander took the rebounded ball and heaved it deep to the basket, the shot falling off the target.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” Payne said. “I’m really proud of their fight on a night where we could not throw the ball into the ocean except this guy here (freshman Jared Sherfield). We just couldn’t make a shot when we needed it. We had a lot of different lineups on the floor and we really haven’t played Courtney at the 5 this year because of having guys like Malik (Martin), Garrett (Golday) and Mike (Micaiah Henry), and suddenly we’ve got to have him.
“The guys did a good job of playing defense and giving us a chance to win the game. Courtney really did a monstrous job on the backboards in the second half. Jared did a great job of defending Nick Mayo despite giving up six inches and probably sixty pounds to the guy and he did a great job of just turning the mentality of the game in our favor.”
It was a tough finish for what was a stellar night for Tech’s freshman trio of Sherfield, Hunter Vick and Jr. Clay, who all finished in double-digit scoring. Sheffield led all scorers with 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting and threw down a thundering dunk to help give the Golden Eagles a spark late in the second half. Clay finished with 14 points and a team-high six assists, while Vick had 11 points, including 7-for-8 at the charity stripe.
Henry was the only upperclassman to score in double digits as he put up 16 points on a 5-for-8 night. Alexander led Tech on the glass, bringing down 14 caroms.
Both teams saw a lot of points come from the charity stripe as EKU’s 19-for-27 effort was eclipsed by Tech’s 21-of-28.
Nick Mayo led the Colonels (12-16, 5-10 OVC) with 17 points, while Jomaru Brown had 13 points. Tre King recorded a double-double with 10 points and rebounds.
“Nick Mayo is going to be playing in the NBA one day,” Payne said. “He’s a tough cover and we did a great job on him. When he’s in the game, he requires a double team. He requires special attention. Micaiah did a great job of attacking the rim and getting him in foul trouble. He played a very good game and we needed that out of Mike, but the truth is that kid is one of the best to ever play in the conference. He’s been a great player for a long time and will make an NBA roster.
“Once we got down to the last six minutes with Courtney with three fouls instead of four, we went back a little more into man and Courtney was able to go after guys, then (Mayo) fouled out. We had to get to a certain point where we could get our best defender on him and that can be a difference-maker.”
The Golden Eagles return to action on Saturday for their home finale against Morehead State (10-17, 6-8 OVC). The game will be Tech’s Senior Night.
The Group Impact Cookeville is holding one of biggest events this weekend.
Spokesman Dee Page tells us about a special banquet,
“This Impact Honors Banquet is where we honor African-Americans that have made great strides in the community, Page says.
“The banquet is going to be February 24, Sunday, and it’s going to start at 5:30 p.m. at the Leslie Town Center.
Ticket information at impactbanquet.com
The Upper Cumberland Family Justice Center is expanding into Overton County.
Putnam County Executive Randy Porter says the county commission approved a request to help them out,
“The County Commission approved a request to fund a satellite office in Overton County,” Porter says.
There’s some federal and state dollars that are available, so we’re going to apply for those.”
Cookeville High School and Upperman High are in girls’ regional basketball action tonight. Upperman will host Sequatchie County at Baxter in a 7 o’clock game. Cookeville, meanwhile, will host Cleveland High School. That game also begins at 7…and you can hear the action on 107.7 and 1400 the HUB.
Weather permitting…Dale Hollow Lake will be filled with up to 400 boaters and co-anglers tomorrow. They’ll be competing in the TH Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Mountain Division Opener. Top awards run from 3-to-8 thousand dollars in the one day tournament
The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be out in force in the Upper Cumberland today. They’ll have checkpoints set up in Smith, Jackson, and Cumberland counties…along with 2 checkpoints in Pickett County.